Moving is an expensive endeavor, and the more items you have—particularly ones that are large and difficult to transport—the more you are going to pay. Luckily, there are alternatives out there to the traditional full-service moving experience—and the often hefty price tag that comes along with it.
uShip is an online marketplace that connects people who need to transport items with one of its approximately 800,000 third-party providers with available space on their rigs or carriers. If you are flexible with scheduling and willing to think outside of the box, moving some or all of your items with uShip can equate to deep discounts.
The This Old House Reviews Team researched the best moving companies across the country and found uShip to be a useful resource for shipping large or heavy items, including vehicles. Keep reading to learn about the company’s perks and potential pitfalls, as well as its services, pricing and customer satisfaction.
Our Take on uShip
We rated uShip an 86 out of 100 and highlighted the company for its mobile app. Through uShip’s user-friendly app, consumers can list the items they need transported and either let uShip match them with highly rated providers or let carriers bid directly on the job. Either option means potentially lower costs than traditional full-service movers.
uShip is primarily a vehicle shipping company, but it can also facilitate the transport of household items, heavy equipment, jacuzzis and spas, and animals.
uShip Pros & Cons
✓ Offers a “Ship with Confidence” guarantee (up to $500 for lost or damaged shipments)
✓ Provides a discounted shipping rate for members of the military
✓ Offers GPS tracking of shipments through its mobile app
✖ Moves are dependent on available drivers in your area and their available rig space
✖ Doesn’t have a vetting process for carriers, so it’s up to consumers to conduct background research
Where Is uShip Available?
uShip provides services in all 50 states, but availability depends largely on whether there are any carriers available to accommodate the pick-up and drop-off locations of your items.
Services Provided by uShip
uShip is an online marketplace that allows consumers to list their vehicles or other shipments and connect with third-party carriers that have created free uShip profiles. After posting your request, you can let uShip recommend providers with positive customer reviews who can assist you, or you can handle the process yourself by accepting bids from providers and choosing the one that best fits your needs and budget. Coordination of and payment for services from third-party providers is handled through uShip.
uShip’s services include:
uShip’s app can be used during every step of the moving process, from listing items and accepting bids to making payments and tracking shipments. Customers can also communicate directly with the driver transporting their items through the app.
Open carriers are the trucks you’ve likely seen on the interstate that transport multiple vehicles, often stacked, at one time. This is a cheaper method of transport, but it does expose your car, SUV, truck, van, or watercraft to the elements and hazards, such as rocks kicked up by other vehicles on the road.
As the name suggests, enclosed carriers cover vehicles from the elements and potential highway hazards during transport. However, enclosed transport is more expensive than using an open carrier.
While booking a carrier through uShip depends on a driver’s proximity to your location and available rig space, vehicles and other items are typically shipped within one to two days once a posting is booked.
Customers can opt to find a provider who can accommodate shipping their car, truck, SUV, van, or boat individually. This option includes a choice of open or enclosed carrier.
Cars and other items are shipped with other loads already en route to save money on moving or shipping costs.
Extensive Network of Drivers
uShip works with nearly 800,000 active truck drivers to help match them with people who are looking for space to transport their personal belongings.
Cost Estimator Tool
Using data from prior shipments, uShip’s online cost estimator can help you better narrow down the estimated price range to ship your particular items.
Insurance Coverage Options
While uShip functions in much the same way as moving brokers, which arrange for-hire movers to handle relocations, the company is recognized as an online shipping marketplace. This is an important distinction because, unlike brokers and carriers, uShip does not vet providers in its network for qualifications like liability insurance.
All motor carriers must carry basic liability insurance under federal law, but uShip does not require third-party providers in its network to prove that it has met that federal mandate. The company recommends that movers do this on the uShip e-commerce site, but it is not a requisite for creating or maintaining a free profile through the company’s platform.
Consumers must do their own background research to ensure a carrier has, at a minimum, basic liability coverage (60 cents per pound for each item). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has an online search tool that allows consumers to validate a company’s U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) number, which is assigned to movers that meet all federal requirements for motor carriers, including liability coverage.
Since it doesn’t verify insurance credentials, uShip offers customers a cargo insurance policy through third-party partners. The company’s cargo coverage functions much like full-value protection, which pays the total replacement value of lost or damaged items. Basic liability insurance, by comparison, covers each of your items at 60 cents per pound.
Premiums for uShip’s cargo insurance are set at $50, $250, $500, or $700, depending on the value of the items you are shipping. According to uShip’s website, most new items valued at up to $1,000 have a $50 deductible. Similar to traditional full-value moving coverage plans, uShip’s cargo insurance policy does not cover high-value items, such as jewelry, watches, furs, or antiques.
How Much Does uShip Cost?
Transporting items through uShip will depend on the distance of your move, the type of items you want to ship, and the provider you select.
Using uShip’s online quote tool, it would cost $553 to transport 450 pounds of appliances—roughly the weight of one refrigerator and one oven, range, or stovetop—from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Trenton, New Jersey. The estimate to ship a 2020 Chevrolet Blazer the same distance was $763.
The cost to ship items is not determined by weight alone. For example, the cost of transporting a 20-pound dog from Baton Rouge to Trenton is estimated at $522.
Keep in mind that these estimates are based on the instant quote option, in which uShip delivers an estimate by searching its database for highly rated providers that can accommodate your specific needs. You may be able to lower costs using the direct bid option, but the This Old House Reviews Team recommends that you fully research providers before accepting a bid.
Additionally, uShip partners with ID.me, an online service that connects military members with companies that provide military discounts, to provide exclusive discounts and promotions to active-duty military members and veterans as well as spouses of servicemen and women.
When you list a shipping request with uShip, you will provide your location and a brief description of the items you want to transport, then get connected to available carriers. From that point on, all steps in the process—including booking and scheduling the move—is handled between the customer and the third-party provider on uShip’s platform, regardless of whether you let uShip filter results for you or you choose to directly receive provider bids.
It is important to note that booking and scheduling policies, such as cancellation fees, will vary depending on the provider you select. Be sure to request information regarding cancellations and any other related guidelines from the third-party provider before booking a move with that company.
uShip has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), of which it has been a member since 2005.* Customer experiences with uShip are overwhelmingly positive, with some negative feedback regarding scheduling and payment issues with drivers and lack of cohesive customer support through uShip.
Here are a few uShip reviews from the BBB:
“My experience with uShip has been nothing short of outstanding. In every interaction with the team members, they have gone above and beyond to ensure I was satisfied with the results. They have been truly professional and went the extra mile to provide the most competitive rates I have gotten. That is very important when they save you the dough you need to operate your business….” — Jaime Q.
“Great idea for an app. However, the app is clunky and has bugs on Android. I had to resubmit my request for shipment three times, as when my screen locked on the phone, it purged my order form…. Overall great concept but they need to improve technology and customer service.” — TD
*BBB information accurate as of November 2021
uShip vs. Other Moving Companies
uShip is not the only cost-effective alternative to traditional full-service movers. If you are looking to cut moving costs by handling some of the work yourself, you may want to consider a storage and moving container company like the ones listed below.
uShip vs. U-Pack
U-Pack provides door-to-door delivery of mobile storage containers at reasonable rates and with quality customer service. U-Pack offers 6x8-foot ReloCube containers for smaller moves and trailers to accommodate larger hauls. Its trailers have an internal size of 27 feet long by 8 feet wide and 9 feet high and come with a ramp for easy loading and unloading.
The company estimates that a trailer can hold the contents of a three- to four-bedroom home, up to 22,500 pounds. The typical total weight of household goods, according to U-Pack, is 12,600 pounds. U-Pack will only charge you for the amount of space you fill, as opposed to a flat rental rate.
We received a quote of $2,369 to move the contents of a three-bedroom home from Frankfort, Kentucky, to Jefferson City, Missouri, in mid-January. That estimate was based on using a trailer. U-Pack determined it would likely take three ReloCubes to accommodate the same move and, at $2,654, would cost slightly more than the trailer rental.
Find out how U-Pack’s pricing compares to uShip by filling out this short online form.
uShip vs. PODS
PODS is a popular option for DIY movers who want assistance with some parts of the moving process—such as transport and delivery—but prefer to handle packing and loading on their own. The company provides steel-framed containers rented by the month in three sizes: 8 feet, 12 feet, and 16 feet.
For reference, a 16-foot container will usually accommodate homes up to 1,200 square feet or roughly the equivalent of three to four rooms’ worth of furniture and household items. These containers are delivered directly to your driveway or parking lot at ground level for easy loading. Once your items are loaded, you can schedule a time for PODS to retrieve your container and transport it to your new residence.
While the company does not offer any full-service moving options, it can recommend and connect you with professional moving partners who are familiar with PODS containers to assist with packing and unpacking and loading and unloading. Additionally, PODS has onsite long- and short-term storage facilities in Washington, D.C. and the 44 states in which it currently operates. PODS is not available in Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, or Wyoming.
The company provides only local moving quotes online. For long-distance moves, you must call PODS to receive your free quote. Quotes are valid for up to seven days and include the first month’s rental fee for your containers as well as any delivery and pick-up charges. We were quoted a total of $2,850 to rent a 16-foot container for one month and have it transported from Tampa, Florida, to Dallas, Texas.
To compare the cost to move with PODS to uShip’s pricing, take this quick online survey.
If used in addition to a full-service move with another company, uShip could be a viable cost-saving option for moving certain items such as jacuzzis, grand pianos, cars, and boats. Listing items for bid on uShip is free—and easy using the app—so it may be worth taking a few minutes to see how much cheaper it could be to use one of the company’s third-party providers instead of a traditional full-service mover.
uShip is likely not a good fit for handling your entire move due to the model by which it operates. It would be difficult to find a carrier with enough available space to accommodate all contents of a three-bedroom home, for example. And moving with uShip means you are dependent on the availability of a third-party provider, so scheduling on a specific date may be difficult. If you are on a shoestring budget, another alternative to full-service moving such as PODS or U-Pack may be better able to handle the transport of your belongings at a reasonable rate.
Although uShip has a number of positive customer reviews online, you should still spend time checking reviews for providers in uShip’s network and verify if they are properly licensed and insured before accepting a bid. To find out more about uShip’s services and options, fill out this online form.
Frequently Asked Questions
How soon after listing my shipment request with uShip will I start receiving bids?
Initial bids can begin coming in anywhere from 10 minutes to two days after posting a request, depending on the type and size of your shipment as well as your location and desired relocation schedule. You will receive an email notification for each bid. You will also be notified via email when a provider reaches out with a question regarding your request.
Can I use uShip if I need my items picked up and delivered on a specific date?
Third-party providers on uShip’s marketplace are not bound by a contract to meet a certain pick-up or drop-off date. According to the company’s website, most providers will accommodate deadlines and time frames. It’s important to include such information in your shipment request, so you will only receive bids from companies that can meet your timeline.
Is it safe to ship my pet with uShip?
uShip providers routinely transport pets, but the company advises customers to fully research a provider ahead of booking the move. uShip does not recommend shipping older pets or those younger than 10 weeks, and animals with health conditions like asthma or seizures are not good candidates for the service. Talk to your pet’s veterinarian before booking transport. uShip also has a helpful list of questions to ask providers regarding the shipment of animals on its website.
Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews Team is committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. This means earning your trust through transparent reviews and having the data to back up our ratings and recommendations. Our rating system for moving service providers is on a 100-point scale based on seven factors:
- Moving Services (30): Does the company offer its services for local, long-distance, and international moves?
- Additional Services (29): What additional services does the company provide, such as packing and unpacking or loading and unloading?
- Coverage (10): Does the company offer any additional insurance plans, such as full-value coverage?
- Scheduling (7): Are customers able to schedule online, over the phone, or on both platforms?
- Trailers/containers (7): How many trailer or container sizes does the company offer?
- Additional Benefits (12): What additional benefits does the company provide, such as storage options, moving truck rentals, and financing?
- Reputation (5): What rating does the company feature on popular review sites like the BBB?
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at firstname.lastname@example.org.